Political party financing report for 2023: Who spent more than it received?

The year 2023 saw new records regarding the financing of political parties – six parties received 227 million lei and spent 252 million, according to an Expert Forum report. For the first time in recent years, the total amount of expenses exceeds – even visibly – that of income, in this chapter AUR spent the most – 222% – compared to what it received. The largest amounts – almost 50% of the money allocated by the state – were spent by political parties on press and propaganda.
Since 2008, the parties have received a total of 1.5 billion lei. Between 2021 and 2023, they received 718 million lei and spent 548 million lei. Of this amount, PSD revenues represent 45%.
From this period, the highest revenues were recorded in 2022, i.e. 256 million lei, and the highest expenses in 2023 – 252 million lei.
The year PSD spent the most – 93 million lei – was 2022, and PNL spent the most in 2023 – 72 million lei. AUR spent almost nothing until 2023, when it suddenly spent 39 million lei.
According to the report, in 2023, the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) transferred the sum of 227 million lei to six parties: PSD – 88 million lei, PNL – 74 million lei, PMP – 2.5 million lei, USR – 40 million of lei, AUR – 17 million lei, Pro Romania – 3.3 million lei.
The parties spent more than they received, that is 252 million (111%), also using resources saved from previous years. PSD and PNL are the only ones that stayed within the limits, but they also received the most money.
AUR spent the most compared to what it received, that is 222%. It is the highest amount of spending so far, and the increasing amounts are also an indicator that may show that they are preparing for the 2024 elections. Overall, there is an increase in spending on promotion, consulting and organizing activities with potential voters. The highest expenses in 2023 were made in December – 30 million lei, and the lowest in January, i.e. 15 million lei.
Media and propaganda expenses reached a new record, i.e. 120 million lei, after in 2022 political parties spent 100 million lei, and in 2021 almost half, i.e. 60 million lei. In addition to the press and propaganda category, the parties also recorded expenses for the production and broadcasting of advertising spots. The most visible are at AUR – 1.4 million lei and at PMP – 965,000 lei.
The expenses for the polls reached 19 million lei, increasing by almost 5 million from October and doubling compared to 2022, in the context where in 2024 there are four types of elections. The parties spent the most in October (25% of the total) and December (11% of the total).
When it comes to organizing political activities, AUR and USR stand out by far, with 11 million lei and 6 million lei, respectively. The total amount of expenses increased significantly, from 7.9 million lei in 2022 to 21.3 million lei in 2023, which again indicates the proximity to the election year.
For political consulting, the largest amounts were allocated by PSD (6.5 million lei) and PNL (8.8 million lei). The amounts are generally spread evenly throughout the year. Likewise at USR, which paid 2.1 million lei for consulting. AUR gave only 118 thousand lei. Larger sums were allocated by Pro Romania, which paid 5.7 million lei for the fees of lawyers, executors and experts (the money was transferred to a bailiff), and USR gave 1.2 million lei for fees.
Transparency of expenses remains very low, especially when it comes to the press and propaganda chapter. USR remains the only party that publishes the list of contracts financed from public money. Otherwise, information about the contracts appears only when requested by the press, but even then the parties do not always respond. Alternatively, they were also published following party leaks or came from former members who were no longer on good terms with the party.
2023AURexpert forumfinancingpnlpolitical partiespresspropagandapsdUSR
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  • Panagiotis Spyridis

    Law to Publish the list of contracts for all now!